Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Understanding Functional Skills And The Role They Play For A Special Needs Child

In this article I am going to tell you how functional skills can be used to bring out the very best in your special needs child. The reason I am going to tell you about the role functional skills play is because eventually every special needs child is going to grow up to be an adult.
By equipping them with the necessary life skills at an early age will serve them well and help them to be as independent as they possibly can be and lead as normal a life as possible (within their developed capabilities).
In this article I am going to teach you
  • what are the main functional skills to be given when you are a special needs child and
  • why functional skills are important for special needs children
The main functional skills applicable for special needs children are communication, problem solving, time management and self-help. These skills apply to real life situations and so are very practical and important for your child to develop these life skills.
The communication aspect deals with verbal and non verbal communication. Listening skills also form part of communication. Understanding what was said or implied and the tone, expressions, gestures etc used all form part of the communication process.
By being able to communicate effectively and understand what is being communicated, the special needs child will be able to integrate better into society.
Problem solving skills can cover a diverse range of topics such as how to deal with conflict, how to prioritize etc. It involves breaking down problems into manageable information segments covering how to determine what the problem is initially, breaking it down into manageable portions, considering the ways to approach solving the problem and then implementing change.
Time management involves setting priorities and timelines to get different tasks accomplished. It is often the case for special needs children that they look in detail at one component and not see the bigger picture or what needs to be accomplished.
Learning to see the task as a whole yet comprising of parts needs to be learned, followed then by determining what needs to be done and how long it will take for each part.
Self help can cover a diverse range of activities such as bathing, dressing, cooking, going shopping, managing money, learning to say no, asking for help etc. The level of self-help skills that each person needs will differ and how long it will take each person to master will differ from person to person.
By mastering the above functional skills, a special needs child should be able to adapt well to everyday living and be equipped to meet most challenges.

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